Modern + Vintage Summer Outfits

I realized recently that I haven’t done an #ootd post in awhile. While Instagram has already seen these outfits (and most likely you have, too, if you’re on there), I thought that going more in depth than I do on Instagram and sharing why these were my favorite outfits this month would be fun.

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Good Morning, Smoothie!

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By now you people know that I’m not a morning person. It’s something akin to torture for me to be up before 8 a.m. (yes, I’m tortured every weekday. Who ever thought it was a good idea to start school or work before 10?!) For that reason, I usually need a good breakfast. One with protein. One with energy. One that I can put together quickly because I’m usually running late as I can’t bring myself to set the alarm at an unholy hour in order to maximize my morning…Read More »

Portobello Road Market

This famous market may be oversaturated with tourists (I include myself in that term) but somehow it manages to retain all the beguiling charm that has drawn shoppers for many many years and draws us there still.

Perhaps it’s the lure of being in such a lovely neighborhood, the cloud-dotted blue skies beaming over cheery homes and buildings. Or the street lined as far as the eye can see with stalls stuffed with overpriced trinkets, amongst which must surely be hiding some sort of treasure. Perhaps it’s the global aspect, in which one can encounter people from nearly every corner of the globe, all on one street and sharing in the same purpose.

I remember sighting a first edition John Buchan as I strolled past a bookseller stall, attempting to bargain for it with the owner (this is huge for me as I never bargain. Ever. I have the hardest time doing it!). He refused to come down any in price and I didn’t have the £10 extra he wanted (thanks to a polka-dotted coin purse and a yummy crepe which had caught my eye first). He ended up offering me two other Buchan books for what I could give him, and I was satisfied. After all, they were vintage British editions and still a perfect find from a perfect, typical and yet not so typical tourist experience.

My Portobello Road market tips:

Arrive early. I got there around 8 a.m. on a bright summer morning and the weather was deliciously cool and the streets uncrowded. As the day went on, it got warmer and very crowded.

No need to eat breakfast as the market is full of succulent food stalls. I bought a crepe that was huge and so satisfying that I didn’t need lunch. I think it was only £3.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a price reduction. As stated above, I don’t bargain. But I did ask if the seller would take less and ended up with some good buys even though I didn’t get what I first wanted.

Watch out for junk. Overpriced, useless souvenirs that will be a burden to pack and take home. Look out for truly meaningful items that will bring a smile to your face every time you see it. For me, books are that perfect item. That said, I have heard that treasures can be found here, just know your items and pricing so that you can shop wisely.

No buying is really necessary. If you want to save money, just stroll up and down the street, enjoy the magnificent people-watching opportunity and take in the quintessentially British surroundings.

Connecticut & Bookstores

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My bookstore-themed destinations continues with Connecticut… Enjoy!

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For a couple of years I had family living in Mystic, CT. It was nothing short of a delight to go visit them, especially during the warm summer months. My first visit was on a July 4th weekend and the town was patriotically bunted and bustling. I remember a boat ride up the river, clam chowder at Sea Swirl (conveniently across from the Mystic Inn, where we were staying), walking across the drawbridge, dining indoors and outdoors at delicious restaurants, looking at the beautiful homes, visiting the parks, and watching fireworks on the Fourth from New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey on the nearby Stonington beach.

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Beach at Stonington.

The more I visited Mystic, the more I fell in love with it and its surrounding towns. In the summer there were blooming flowers and the salty sea in the air and historic homes standing proudly as they had for hundreds of years. In the fall there were gloriously clothed trees and apples and cider and the smell of the approaching winter blowing in on fall’s fierce winds. And even winter had a soft beauty, with its frosted windows and snow-laden trees and cold winds that you didn’t mind if you were going to the Mystic Market, where warm lattes and scones were to be had amidst friendly locals commenting on the weather.

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And of course, there were bookstores. On every visit I went to Bank Square Books, a charming store with carefully selected reading material. And then there was my favorite bookstore (it perhaps remains my favorite…), The Book Barn in Niantic. I found so many treasures there that I can’t even remember them all. Used books that were all over the property in little buildings, open stalls, and wherever there was space. Books in piles and on heavy shelves that one could peruse through and find a rare edition buried somewhere, priced for $1. All with the distant sounds of the nearby sea as background music…

If you’re visiting the Mystic area, these are my recommendations for activities and eating.

Mystic:

Stay at the Inn at Mystic. A lovely, quiet place within walking distance of Mystic’s best.

Bank Square Books

Sea Swirl for snacks and chowder

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Mystic Market for coffee, pastries, and the cutest grocery store.

S&P Oyster for traditional New England seafood.

Bravo Bravo for evening dining.

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream for the best ice cream ever, and the hands-down the best specialty espresso drinks.

B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill in the fall for fresh cider and the delicious apple cider donuts.

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Buff Point State Park & Coastal Reserve for hiking

Steamboat Sabino for a summer evening cruise on the river

Mystic Aquarium – you can’t go wrong spending a morning or afternoon here!

Mystic Seaport – history, sailing, what more can you ask for?

I also recommend just strolling through downtown Mystic, dine at one of the many fun (if crowded) restaurants, and enjoy the ultimate Americana experience.

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Noank (so close to Mystic that you can’t ever tell where Mystic ends and Noank begins):

Carson’s Store – this place is liking into the past. It’s hard to believe that we’re in the twenty-first century when visiting this charmingly quaint restaurant. Teeny tiny, often bustling with locals, and food that never, ever misses.

Abbott’s Lobster in The Rough. The favorite lobster roll ever. I recommend consuming on the picnic tables scattered over the lawn while the sun sets over the river and yachts and sailboats float by. Bliss.

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Don’t neglect Stonington, a town that witnessed the Revolutionary War. Eat at the Dog Watch Cafe and get a t-shirt while you’re there.

Nearby/Day Trips from Mystic/Noank/Groton:

The Book Barn in Niantic.

R.J. Julia Booksellers in charming Madison, CT.

Newport, Providence, and Hartford are also within driving distance and make for great day trips,